Remember godmother of Rock & Roll Sister Rosetta Tharpe? She reportedly was a lover of Marie Knight

Aug 23, 2018
02:32 P.M.
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Known as the godmother of Rock and Roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was believed to be the lover of Marie Knight. Allegedly, their relationship was an open secret.


Tharpe, who was known as a queer black woman from Arkansas and a wicked shredder on the electric guitar, met Knight in 1946.

The duo recorded the song “Up Above My Head” and toured together with Knight playing the piano and on vocals, while Tharpe also sang and played both guitar and piano.

As revealed by the historian Gayle Wald, who is an author of Tharpe’s biography, “Shout, Sister, Shout!” Knight and Tharpe were lovers, and it was an “open secret.”


Everyone knew about it, but the relationship eventually ended for an undisclosed reason.

Soon, in 1951, Tharpe went on to marry her third husband in Washington, D.C. at the Griffith Stadium.

The wedding drew many headlines as thousands of people arrived to witness the big day.

As far as Knight and Tharpe’s relationship was concerned, it had faded away and became just a part of history.

Meanwhile, Tharpe’s career was another story. In 2017, she was inducted as one of the “Influences” on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Many people thought that the recognition was long overdue since Tharpe was supposedly underappreciated during the peak of her career.

While a lot of people regard Elvis Presley as the King, some people would say that Tharpe seemingly invented Rock and Roll.

A lot of early rockers considered Tharpe as their main influence. Modern singers like Mary Lambert look up to her as well.


One of Tharpe’s iconic singles was released in 1945. She recorded “Strange Things Happening Every Day” – which features a fiery guitar solo – and it became the first gospel single to hit the Billboard charts. 

Unfortunately, Tharpe did not reach her full potential as a rock artist because of her strong devotion to producing only religious songs.

In 1973, Tharpe passed away in her home in Philadelphia. She had been living with her mother then. Her funeral service was small and private.

Knight reportedly did Tharpe’s makeup, and she also helped in choosing the late singer’s clothes for the burial.